Wow, a hummingbird that is nesting in late November!! This is a non-migratory Allen’s Hummingbird that just laid 2 eggs in the past week in Southern California in her host’s rose bush. The hosts have a live webcam that you can watch–just click here and scroll down the page to the live Ustream video screen. This has been described in a Birds and Blooms webpage article.Sometimes Phoebe will be off feeding so you will see the nest with the 2 cute little eggs inside.
Though it seems amazing to most of us who live in areas where hummers nest in the summer and migrate south in the winter, this sub-species called Channel Island Allen’s Hummingbird have a nesting season from October through May during which they will produce 4-5 clutches.
You can see in the photo on the right that the hosts have positioned a webcam just above her nest to get the best view. That photo, which shows Phoebe sitting on nest nest was taken on November 25 (the photo above of the eggs in the nest was taken on November 26).
According to the American Bird Conservancy, “The Allen’s Hummingbird has one of the most restricted breeding and wintering ranges of any U.S.-breeding hummingbird, or for that matter, any bird. . . . Human activity has a great effect on this species, particularly through planting of eucalpytus groves and other exotic trees which serve as ample nectar supplies, particularly benefiting the nonmigratory Channel Islands birds.” Sadly it “Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species” by the American Bird Conservancy, an excellent non-profit ‘whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.’
So all you hummer-fans, this is a great opportunity to enjoy some live nesting action by this Allen’s Hummingbird to help tide you over until your hummers return in the spring. And some will have the opportunity to enjoy one of the increasing numbers of hummers that are now spending the winter in various parts of the U.S. There have been historic observations of wintering hummingbirds in southern California but they have spread rapidly eastward to Arizona and northward through coastal Oregon, Washington and southwestern British Columbia according to an article in the latest issue of Birds and Blooms magazine by contributing editor and wild bird expert Kenn Kaufman. In his article Ken notes that “Rufous hummingbirds now spend the winter in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida, with smaller numbers north along the Atlantic Coast to Virginia and beyond.” If you don’t have a subscription, this is a great article so go buy it now then take advantage of the special offer to get a subscription along with one of the free ‘Pocket Guides’.
Watch the ‘comment’ section below as I will soon provide some specific locations of where wintering hummers are being seen. And please share in the ‘comment’ section any winter observations of hummers in your area.